Greece mother meets with district over viral classroom photo

Updated: 03/05/2014 5:25 PM
Created: 03/05/2014 5:24 PM WHEC.com
By: Gina Capellazzi

News10NBC spoke with the Greece mother who posted a photo taken inside a classroom that went viral. We spoke with her after she met with the Greece School District. She says she didn’t expect this would cost a teacher her job.

Mary Jo Norgaard says she couldn't stay silent after her daughter showed her a photo of the teacher writing a vulgar word on the smart board. On Tuesday night, Greece Olympia teacher Sharon Duffy resigned.   

Wednesday’s meeting lasted 30 minutes. It was a chance for the mother who posted that picture to meet with the district. While she says she was never calling for the teacher’s resignation, she is happy the district didn’t dismiss her concerns.

Mary Jo Norgaard: "I think what was going on in the classroom was highly inappropriate and I really just wanted it to stop."

The meeting was scheduled before her daughter's former teacher abruptly resigned Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Norgaard was there to get an explanation to how the district handled her concerns about the photo which her daughter brought to her attention last week. It shows Greece Olympia teacher Sharon Duffy, who teaches an American Sign Language class, at the smart board with a list of words. The top word, which we've blurred, is a vulgar, sexual term.  

Norgaard says her daughter told her it was part of a charades-type game that Duffy led in class. The story went viral after Norgaard posted it on her Facebook page one week ago. By Tuesday night, the district had launched an investigation and Duffy stepped down.

News10NBC stopped at the teacher's home Wednesday to see if she wanted to talk about the decision to resign, but no one answered the door. Norgaard said it is unfortunate the teacher resigned, but praised how the district handled her concerns.

Norgaard said, "I'm very pleased with the way they handled it. They handled it to my satisfaction. The teacher did resign, so the situation kind of resolved itself."

The district won’t say if it was the teacher’s decision to resign or if she was forced out. But Norgaard says, based on her meeting Wednesday, she believes it was the teacher’s decision. A written statement from the president of the Greece Teacher's Union did not seem to include a lot of objection to the outcome, saying Duffy made an error in judgment and the union worked collaboratively with the administration and the teacher to resolve the issue swiftly and fairly.”

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